July 2, 2014

Apple bans educational game about Dutch slavery

Filed under: Gaming,History by Orangemaster @ 12:23 pm


The City of Amsterdam subsidized a free educational game entitled ‘Road to Freedom’ that was 1.5 years in the making to teach children about Dutch slavery in Surinam. It was produced by the National Institute for the Study of Dutch Slavery and its Legacy and designed by Pepergroen to mark the 150th anniversary of the abolition of slavery.

The Afro-Surinamese community in the Netherlands wasn’t thrilled with the game, but neither were the Americans at Apple who called the content ”slanderous and insulting”. A quick Google search shows that Apple is not a fan of anything with slaves in it, like this sweatshop app.

On the one hand, anything too culturally confrontational makes many people from countries with unresolved colonial pasts uncomfortable and on the other, anything that is presented in a game format already downgrades the importance of historical relevance. If I were at school today and someone gave me a flee from a Russian labour camp game, I’d have a real problem with it and so would my parents.

I do get what the makers were trying to do, but unfortunately they have managed to trivialize something that deserves a much better platform. A Dutch friend of mine would say, ‘het idee is goed, maar de uitvoering is klote’ (‘The idea is good, but the execution is crap’).

UPDATE The video we had up yesterday introducing the game has been pulled offline.

(Link: www.joop.nl, www.volkskrant.nl, Screenshot of the game before it was yanked offline)

Tags: , , , ,

November 29, 2010

Surinam’s deed of independence has been lost

Filed under: History by Branko Collin @ 2:13 pm

A reporter from Surinam daily De Ware Tijd has discovered that the document in which former Queen Juliana recognised the independence of Surinam in 1975 has been lost.

Home Affairs Minister Soewarto Moestadja, has started a search and is focussing on three leads. The document that signifies the birth of a nation may be in the vault of the national bank, it may be in the national archive, or it may have been lost to the flames of the fire that destroyed the Ministry of General Affairs during the 1980s.

The Netherlands still has its own copy of the deed of recognition, somewhere.

In 1667 the Netherlands ‘traded’ New York (then New Amsterdam) for Surinam in a treaty that concluded the Second Anglo-Dutch War. In reality both colonies had already been conquered by respectively the English and the Dutch, and the treaty merely cemented the status quo. The independence 318 years later was accompanied by the same lack of dramatics, as Surinam asked for independence in 1973 and received it two years later.

(Link: Waterkant.net, Photo by Ian Mackenzie, some rights reserved)

Tags: , , ,